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Crime News Breaking News

Husband Accused Of Killing Woman, Then Blaming A Panhandler, Has Troubled Past

Keith Tyrone Smith, 52, once served time for robbing the same bank three different times. Now he’s accused, along with his daughter Valeria Smith, of killing his wife Jacquelyn.

By Jill Sederstrom

The husband and step-daughter of a woman killed in December agreed to be extradited to Baltimore to face the charges against them.

Authorities have accused Keith Tyrone Smith, 52, and his daughter, Valeria Smith, 28, of killing Keith’s wife Jacquelyn Smith and then telling police a panhandler on the streets of Baltimore had stabbed her to death.

The pair was apprehended earlier this week in Texas near the Mexico border. Baltimore Police will now have until March 15 to retrieve the father and daughter and return them to Baltimore, according to the Associated Press.

Jacquelyn Smith was killed Dec. 1, but her husband and stepdaughter told authorities she had been stabbed after rolling down her window to give money to a woman carrying a baby. After handing the woman the money, they claimed a man came up to the window, tried to grab Jacquelyn’s purse and began to stab her, according to The Baltimore Sun.

The story shocked the nation, with Oprah even chiming in to share her outrage. Keith Smith tearfully recounted the tale in media interviews and advocated for a law in his wife’s name that would ban panhandling.

But investigators, and the victim’s family, were skeptical of the story.

Jacquelyn Smith

“I already know it’s Keith,” her brother Marcel Trisvan told the local paper. “It never made sense. I told [detectives] from the very beginning there are no suspects out there.”

Her mother, Anna Trisvane, also said she had doubted the story.

“She had everything and he had nothing, and I guess maybe that’s what he wanted, you know to take everything she had,” she said, according to CBS News.

Baltimore Police Commissioner Michael Harrison echoed the family’s sentiments on Sunday, telling reporters “the information and the evidence” didn’t point to a panhandler.

Keith and his daughter were apprehended Sunday morning in Texas as they were allegedly trying to flee the country.

Investigators have yet to comment on a possible motive, but new details are beginning to emerge about Keith’s troubled life before the alleged crime.

He spent about six years in prison after receiving a 12-year sentence for robbing banks. He claimed at the time that he needed the money to support his young daughter and pay for medical expenses related to his HIV status, The Baltimore Sun reports.

The bank robberies began in December 1999 when Keith walked into a bank with a pellet gun and demanded everyone lie on the floor while he emptied the drawers escaping with approximately $15,000.

He robbed the bank a second time three months later, running away with approximately $16,000.

Keith would strike the same bank a third time after waiting another five months, but a few days later his luck would run out. Police had been on the lookout for a vehicle matching the description of his car and pulled him over.

He was arrested and later admitted to his involvement in the bank robberies, the local paper reports.

He was paroled after serving his time in 2007 and would go on to marry Jacquelyn seven years later.